There is no doubt that dogs are cherished members of the typical American family. They offer companionship, happiness and even protection to a vast number of people across the United States. Unfortunately, not all dogs are friendly and not all dog owners are responsible with their pets. This fact has lead to thousands of people being bitten, mauled or attacked by a dog each year.
While most dog bites are relatively minor and can be treated at home, many are quite serious and can cause painful and devastating injuries, including permanent scarring, disfigurement, psychological trauma and sometimes death. These injuries will require emergency medical treatment, often resulting in very costly medical bills that can last for many years.
Though certain breeds are well-known for their aggressive behaviors, dogs of any breed can and do bite, many times resulting in severe permanent injuries.
While most parents are cautious with their children around dogs, children can often be unpredictable and startling to a dog. Children tend to be at an especially high risk for face bites due to the fact that they are more likely to interact at eye-level.
Parents are advised to watch their children closely around dogs at all times, especially if it is unknown how that dog behaves around kids. However, even the most vigilant parents cannot always prevent a sudden attack from happening.
Fortunately, California is a strict liability state, meaning that dog owners are responsible for their pets and may be held liable if their dog attacks a person, whether or not the owner knew the dog was aggressive or likely to bite. This statute differs from states where plaintiffs must prove that the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s aggressive tendencies, making a favorable outcome more difficult.
In certain cases, the bite or attack is covered by their homeowner’s insurance, depending on where the bite occurred and what the specifics of the insurance policy. If the dog is a stray and there is no known owner, a person who was bitten may not have legal recourse. An experienced attorney can help you decide if you have a viable case.
As part of a dog bite lawsuit, it is the responsibility of the victim or the person suing on their behalf to come prepared with evidence to prove that the defendant is liable because they were the owner of the dog at the time the bite occurred. Furthermore, owners are only liable if the person bitten was in a public place or on private property “lawfully”. In the case of trespassing, the dog owner may have a defense to a dog bite lawsuit.
If you or a loved one was bitten by an animal, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. Determining the merits of your case can be confusing and unimaginably overwhelming on your own. You will likely have many questions about your rights and contacting a personal injury attorney with experience handling dog/animal bite cases can help you understand these rights. Keep in mind that time is of the essence when filing a case because the statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit in California is 2 years. That means claims filed after this time period will be dismissed.
A serious dog bite can result in costly medical bills, lost wages, and costs that are more difficult to measure like pain and suffering. Some victims may need facial reconstruction surgery or other plastic surgery as a result of their injuries. Those with permanent injuries may also wish to seek compensation for future lost earnings, if the effects of the dog bite will likely affect their future job prospects.
If you believe you have a case because of a vicious dog attack in Orange County, contact us at the law offices of Brent Duque today for more information and a free consultation. We are here to help you get through this.
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